Thursday May 17, 2012

Berkshire Eagle Staff

PITTSFIELD -- Berkshire Bank has added one of women's college basketball's most successful coaches to its staff.

University of Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma has been appointed a director of Berkshire Hills Bancorp, the bank's holding company. He may also serve as a pitchman for the bank.

Auriemma had served as both a director and spokesman for the Hartford-based Connecticut Bank and Trust Co., which Berkshire officially purchased for $30 million on April 20. Also the coach of the U.S. Women's basketball team in the 2012 Summer Olympics, Auriemma has been involved with Connecticut Bank and Trust since September 2004.

Berkshire also intends to enter into a marketing agreement with Auriemma, whereby he will speak on Berkshire Bank's behalf.

Bank spokeswoman Lori Gazzillo declined to say what Auriemma's exact duties for Berkshire will be because the contract between the two parties has yet to be finalized.

"We don't anticipate any problems," she said.

Auriemma, 58, has won seven national titles during his 27 years as UConn womens' basketball coach. The Huskies have also reached 13 Final Fours and recorded four perfect seasons during his tenure. Auriemma has an .862 winning percentage at UConn, the best among NCAA Div. 1 coaches, and is one of six coaches to record at least 800 wins.


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A member of both the National Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, Auriemma led Team USA to the FIBA World Championship in 2010 which qualified the U.S. for a spot in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

"We are delighted that Geno Auriemma is joining our board of directors," said Berkshire Bank President and CEO Michael P. Daly in a written statement. "His professional track record is unparalleled and he has a disciplined focus on team building and success factors that will contribute to the further growth and accomplishments of our company."

Berkshire Bank has $4.3 billion in assets and operates 68 branches in four states.